Monday, July 25, 2016

Neptune House chef rejected the new cooking range

A respite from the heat drew guests to Neptune Island, in the Long Island Sound near New Rochelle, NY.  Built in 1837, in 1851 a new large cooking range was bought to replace the old setup with a stew stove.

In the 1850s a Beebe cooking range was state of the art, and even mentioned in an 1865 novel "Before she agrees to enter a family she cross-examines her mistress as to whether the house is provided with Hecker's flour, and Beebe's range..." [Sala]
Captain William Beebe (1793-1859) left a prosperous life as a sea captain by 1843 when he patented his first range (above).  By 1850 he and Adrian Janes formed Janes, Beebe & Co., later adding Charles Fowler, Rowland Ames Robbins (of Baltimore), then his son-in-law Charles A. Kirtland. The company sold Beebe stoves and ornamental ironwork... and made/installed the metal dome on the US Capitol, and within -  an entirely iron Library of Congress room (fireproof against another fire), metal ceilings for the Senate and House chambers; and outside - lamp posts and benches.  

Isaac Underhill's (1781-1860) wife Elizabeth Rhinelander (1785-1858) inherited from her wealthy uncle Jacob Rhinelander who died about 1836 "solely and for her own and separate use" and they built the summer resort Neptune House. Moses Island was renamed to Neptune Island and connected to mainland New Rochelle by a causeway or steamboat.  Their son Philip R. Underhill owned it until 1885 when part of the hotel was torn down.

Captain Curtis Peck was the manager from 1850 into 1852 (then moved into New York City) and  He went with Philip to buy the #5 Water Back Range for $165.  The following spring, a pipe was added so it would draw better, but the next spring the water-back (water boiler) froze and burst.  They traded for two smaller stoves and two stew-holes that his cook preferred.

Beebe stated that in June 1853 Underwood "said his cook could not get along with that range, with simply one fire; that he wanted more fires; he proposed then to have two No. 4 ranges set in the fireplace, instead of that; one was to have a water apparatus, a full range; the other what he termed a skeleton range, without ovens; in order to get them in, we had to cut four inches into the fireplace, the fireplace was not large enough for them; on the outside of the fireplace he had two stew-holes set in connection with the fireplace; he said his cook had been used to stew-holes; that he was a good cook, and he must give him fires that he could get along with; that he did not understand ranges."

May 8th, 1851

No. 5 Water Back Range        $165 00

1 ½ day Mason setting Range         3 00

Expenses,                                        1 40

1 Copper Boiler                           45 00

Copper connections                      11 25

1 Fire Screen and Boiler                8 00

75 Sheet Iron Pipe                       10 50

¾ Putting up                                  1 50

Capt. Beebe’s expenses                    80

Tinnan’s expenses and freight       1 00

1 No. 5 Centre                                  75

                                                 $248 20

                                                   100 00


                                                 $148 20

The balance – 148 20 – still due.

June 11 1853  
2 ½ days, Plumber

Mason and Laborer, 1 day

July 9th 1853 
205 lb Range Tap,                        5  10 25

16 lb sheet iron for do.                 14   2 24

12 fire Brice,                                       6 72

1 pair End Linings                               1 00

3 Stew Holes                                     39 00

57 Sheet Iron, for do.                    14  7 98

1853 NY Supreme Court case with it's 50 pages of testimony HERE
1892 lawsuit over deeds, lots of history HERE
1889 print by Currier and Ives
Sala, George.  My Diary in America in the Midst of War.  1865

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
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